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This isn't justice for us. And this isn't justice for our tragic son; PARENT'S OF MAN KILLED ON CHRISTMAS DAY SLAMNOT PROVEN VERDICT. AFTER ACCUSED WALKS FREE; No one punished over brutal death of dad of three.

Byline: | Russell Findlay

A thug accused of publicly battering a dad to death on Christmas morning was freed after jurors delivered a not proven verdict.

David McDade, 35, stood trial for murdering dad-ofthree Thomas Roberts, 43, and attacking his friend David McKinnon, 50, in the early hours of December 25 last year.

Railway engineer McDade was convicted of assaulting David but cleared of killing painter and decorator Thomas in what police described as a "sustained attack" in a communal area behind flats in Milton, Glasgow.

The scene is overlooked by dozens of flats and neighbours spoke of their horror at hearing Thomas plead for help while being attacked.

His devastated family have been left shocked by the verdict after a two-week trial at the High Court in Dumbarton.

Talking exclusively to the Sunday Mail, they have called for not proven to be scrapped.

Thomas's dad Lenny, 69, a former member of the Parachute Regiment, said: "How the jury could come up with not proven is beyond me.

"It was a cop out. The choice should be between guilty and not guilty.

"A Crown Office employee spoke to us after the trial and even he seemed disgusted."

Thomas's mum Margaret, 65, suffers from ill health - including a lung condition - and spent several nights in hospital after the verdict.

She said: "He was my only son and he was a lovely man. Everyone knew he wasn't a fighter.

"I can't get over the fact I've lost my son. I'll never see him, never speak to him, never hug him. He's gone and for what? We never got justice, neither did Thomas."

Thomas was visiting his friend David McKinnon when McDade, who lived in a flat below, came to the door "ranting and raving like a maniac".

It was alleged that McDade barged inside and repeatedly punched Thomas on the face and head.

David McKinnon told the court Thomas tried to flee but McDade caught him and continued the brutal assault.

He added that Thomas was "making gurgling noises like he was trying to mumble something but it wasn't words". The victim was found unconscious in the back court and taken to the city's Royal Infirmary, where he was kept on life support until his family were at his bedside.

Two unformed police officers arrived at Lenny and Margaret's door at 9.05am and told them to go immediately to hospital.

Other family members rushed to his bedside and the machine keeping him alive was switched off at 10.45am. Margaret said: "They kept him on life support so that we could be there. He was brain dead, they couldn't do anything.

"I swear he could hear me. I was talking to him, saying, 'Your mum's here, waken up, come on son it's Christmas'.

"I wanted him to wake up but he never will. It's every parent's nightmare. You don't think the police will come to your door on Christmas and tell you to get to hospital where your boy is dying.

"I'll never get over this. None of us will."

A neighbour said they heard Thomas "screaming for help" while being attacked by a "much bigger man". The attacker allegedly told him: "Scream all you like. Nobody can hear you. Shout it louder. Tell them you're not coming back."

They added: "He had his head repeatedly smashed off the ground, then he was being lifted up again. It's absolutely sickening - beyond what anyone could ever expect to see."

During the trial, McDade denied assaulting the two friends and claimed that he went to the flat because his jacket had been stolen.

His defence, carried out by veteran lawyer Donald Findlay QC, centred on a claim that David McKinnon had attacked Thomas.

Lenny said: "The argument put forward was that McKinnon assaulted Thomas and that McDade was actually stopping the fight. But it doesn't make any sense to us. How can a jury find McDade guilty of assaulting McKinnon but not Thomas?

"They believed McKinnon about being assaulted by McDade so I don't understand how they didn't accept his evidence about what happened to Thomas."

Thomas's sister June, who attended court each day, said: "McKinnon came across as credible and McDade was convicted of assaulting him.

"It's maybe easier sometimes for a jury to go with not proven but it's a harrowing verdict for families seeking justice."

Lenny joined June and other family members at court on the day of the verdict, August 25, while Margaret stayed at home.

June, 43, added: "The moment the verdict was read out was surreal. I heard i'll it and thought, 'Holy mother of God'. It's sheer disbelief.

"I can still hear my family screaming and looking at my poor father and thinking - what do we tell our mum?" When the family arrived home from court, they told Margaret the news.

She said: "Lenny came home and told me. I was in bed and I just shut my eyes and closed the door to everyone. I couldn't say anything as I was in shock.

"Not in a million years did I think he would walk free from it. My son was battered to death. Not proven is utter nonsense."

McDade was sentenced to 15 months for assaulting McKinnon but, due to time spent on remand, he was immediately released.

The family treasure the last photos of Thomas, taken weeks before his death. They show him with daughter Brooke, 15, and granddaughter D'arcy, whose second birthday was Christmas Day - the day of his murder.

The Crown Office said yesterday they were unable to comment.

I'll never see him, speak to him or hug him again

CAPTION(S):

shock Thomas's parents Margaret and Lenny, who say verdict is a cop out. Above, flats where he died Main pic Garry F McHarg

victim Thomas Roberts, top. David McDade, above, was accused of killing him
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 10, 2017
Words:974
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